Thread: To comp or not to comp? That is the question....

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  1. #1 To comp or not to comp? That is the question.... 
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    So, a small dilemma....

    I have a short that I'd like to make, and it involves a kid finding his name carved into an old tree. Obviously since the tree I'm looking for is going to be unique, I highly doubt the land owners would like me to carve a name into it and possibly harm the tree. So what do I do?

    I was thinking I can likely shoot the tree as normal, and then for the close ups (where the actor runs their finger across it) have the name carved into a tree that's been cut down, or a "stunt" tree somewhere.

    But I wonder how it would look to have the carving added in digitally. I'd imagine like with everything in filmmaking, you really do get what you pay for...and our budget for this work is likely fairly small.

    Anyone have some advice for me that I perhaps have not thought of?
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  2. #2  
    Quote Originally Posted by robmneilson View Post
    Anyone have some advice for me that I perhaps have not thought of?
    Thanks for being so environmentally considerate; I know way too many filmmakers who wouldn't think twice about carving up a healthy tree. Honestly, your idea of doing some trick photography/editing sounds like it'd be the simplest. It'd definitely be possible to add in digitally but, again, you'd want to approach a talented artist to make it look right.

    The only other option I can think of is finding a bark texture material, carve that, attach it to the tree, and then remove the edges in post. That'd probably be easier, but then you'd have to find the right material to stand in.

    Good luck!
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  3. #3  
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    Stunt log for the inserts, and a couple trackers on the real tree for the wider shots. Use the carved stunt log as your comp and it should be relatively easy for someone who does this stuff regularly. Bring your stunt log and shoot it on the day so the lighting and backgrounds match.

    Good Luck
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  4. #4  
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    Going with Howie here. Put the stunt log beside the tree and shoot it with the same lighting and exposure. That will make it least noticeable. Oh, and no shadows on both.
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  5. #5  
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    Thanks folls....looks like the stunt log wins the day. Now just to find that tree's doppleganger!
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  6. #6  
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    This type of effects shot is pretty straightforward to do so long as some steps are taken to ensure no extreme roto work will need to be done (Such as hair crossing in front of the area...ugh). As long as there is detail visible in the tree bark itself you probably don't even need tracking markers Planar trackers such as Mocha would have no issues with something like that.

    Also, you can use a still image of your "stunt" tree as the comp plate for the real one. As long as the light quality is relatively consistent (Hard vs soft) and directionality is maintained you're compositor's job is 90% done.
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